By: Cory Berlekamp
On Feb. 1, Malone University announced that it was eliminating its football program as a part of restructuring process.
According to the Star Beacon, this decision was a surprise to the coaches and players who were informed Friday morning after a board of trustees finalized the decision to drop the sport. As much as this has affected those who participated in the sport at Malone, it also has rippled through the GMAC.
Jim Givens, associate athletic director at the University of Findlay, was as surprised as the team was.
“First reaction was, obviously, we were all very surprised,” said Givens. “We had just come back from our conference meeting in Orlando and there was no indication that this was going to happen.”
During the 2018 football season there were nine teams that were in the GMAC. Without Malone this poses some issues for the other teams next season.
“I think that as a conference we have to be disappointed because we count on our football schools to continue to sponsor football,” said Givens. “From a scheduling perspective, it makes things a little bit more difficult. For example, we now have a week 10 buy and trying to find a game in week 10 out of 11 is very difficult.”
According to Business Insider, there are 672 college football teams playing in all three divisions of the NCAA. The article states that basketball is the most popular sport in college but that does not stop the country’s love of football in the fall, especially college ball.
“Football is, on most college campuses that have it, your most visible sport and a lot of the time it’s the front porch of the athletic department,” said Givens. “You’re viewed or the perception is created through how successful football is in the fall, whether you like it or not.”
According to the GMAC’s website, Malone’s restructuring would save the univeristy around $1 million a year. It is trying to eliminate a $2.5 million deficit over the next two years. As for the MU players left without a school to play for, the University of Findlay is receptive to anybody still wanting to play football.
“I’m sure we will hear from some of those young student athletes and we will see how it goes,” said Givens. “Our doors are open and I know our coaches have spent time recently looking at the film of that (Oilers vs. Pioneers) game in particular to try and see what players might be a good fit for us here.”
Givens was sympathetic to what everyone one at Malone is going through but was confident that this is something the Oilers do not have to worry about.
“I don’t even want to think about that here because of the great tradition and success that we’ve had and the amount of people it would affect,” said Givens. “It’s a very, very tough time for Malone and we are going to support them.”